By Celine Aka • February 22, 2017•Ms. JD, Conference, Careers, Firms and the Private Sector, Law School, Choosing a Career and Landing a Job, Issues, Mentoring and Networking
Knight, Morris & Reddick (KMR) Law Group
2017 Ms. JD Women's Strength in Numbers Award
1. How did you come about opening an all African-American female attorney law practice?
KMR came to be because the three of us each have entrepreneurial spirits and wanted to own and operate a business on our own terms. Yondi mentioned the concept of starting a practice and I was completely on board. She and Jessica had been having conversations around starting a business, so the three of us met to discuss. As far as the fact that the practice is owned by all African-American women... that's merely because the three of us just happen to be Black women. It wasn't even a thought when we came together.
2. What are some of the major challenges you have encountered when opening your own practice?
The biggest challenge was the fact that our education and work experience had prepared us to be practicing attorneys, but not business owners. We had to take on all tasks (from writing the content of our website to managing the firm's finances) while also practicing law and building clientele.
3. What are some of the barriers related to not only your gender, but also to your race, do you face?
When we opened our firm, we understood that we were not only African American women, but quite young in comparison to many of our counterparts. So prior to opening, and even presently, we built and run our business in a way that the fact that we are critical thinkers who take our work very seriously translates to our clients and colleagues. We also knew that as women of color, we might have to work harder to get a seat at the table, so to speak. So that became a mission of ours; networking with those who look different from us. We have received a lot of support from many people of all walks of life.
4. What motivates you to break those barriers?
In order to succeed in our profession and as entrepreneurs, we have to obtain clients. Daily we work on business development, and we see our hard work pay off. That's motivation for us to keep doing what we are doing! We also receive lots of emails from high school and college students, as well as attorneys of color who tell us that they plan to open their own firm because our story inspired them. It's really an amazing feeling to know that our journey to entrepreneurship is helping women know that they too, can open their own businesses. That is motivation that pushes us to know we are doing the right thing!
5. What does the future hold for this all women power boutique law firm?
KMR Law Group has already begun it's expansion. In 2013, we officially opened KMR Legal Staffing (KMRLS). Our staffing agency provides legal support to law firms and corporations across the country that are in need of filling temporary and permanent positions. KMR intends to grow this business on a national and international platform. Our network and experience as practicing attorneys really allows us to hone in on ideal candidates for our clients.
Additionally, our community is extremely important to us and we currently act as mentors to those coming behind us who desire higher education and opportunity. Ultimately, the goal for KMR is to open KMR Foundation, which would support the education of our community.
Click here to get information about the 2017 Ms. JD Conference!